glendale welcomes the klan
After their appearance in Glendale in 1921, the Ku Klux Klan strengthened their membership in the region. The Glendale Klavern held what would be their largest initiation ceremony over two full days in July of 1924.
The Klan accepted hundreds of new members and attracted crowds of thousands. Klan members and spectators marched through downtown Glendale, traveling up Central and Brand Avenues, into the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains.
The ceremony occurred on the weekend of July 12th, 1924 in the area that is now Glendale Community College. Activities reportedly lasted two days and two nights. The first day included a barbeque and baseball game followed in the evening by a parade of robed and hooded Klan members, a band performance, and a cross burning. The final initiation was presided over by the leader of the Klavern, the Exalted Cyclops. To commit new members not only to the KKK’s own definition of Americanism, but also to Protestant Christianity, Reverend Dr. Horace Lackey lectured to the group before they visited several churches in the area.
In the editorial “Bizarre But Busy,” the author describes the “misplaced zeal” of the KKK’s ceremony over the weekend of July 12th with particular disdain:
“The average mentality of the Klansmen cannot be very high. Really bright people could not be induced to don the shambling habiliments of the order . . .”
However, refusing to take the KKK, or their presence in Glendale seriously did not always equate to less prejudicial attitudes toward people of color.
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Rossmoyne, "The Superb," Nibley Investment Co. Licensed Realtors. Album courtesy of Richard and Elizabeth Berry. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture.
Bleiberg, Laura. KKK Rally at Glendale Community College. Glendale News-Press, 8 Feb. 1988, p. 4. Glendale Central Library, Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
Goshorn, George S. "Ku Klux Klan Swept City." Glendale News-Press, 24 Apr. 1962. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
"Bizarre but Busy." Los Angeles Times, 18 Jul. 1924, p. 1. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.